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Are Women At Special Risk For Shingles? — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 13, 2008 at 4:15 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Are Women At Special Risk For Shingles?


Women are definitely at special risk from shingles because they have the gift of giving life. If you get maternal chickenpox, it is very possible that your unborn child will transmit it. When born, the infant has a premature immune system, so it will be harder to fight off the chickenpox virus.

A lot of times, when a woman gets the chickenpox 21 to 5 days before birth, the baby will either be born with chickenpox or will get it a few days later.

During this time lapse (from the time when the mother gets the chickenpox virus until the birth of the baby), it allows the immune system of the mother to reproduce antibodies that are transmitted to the unborn child, thus helping the infant fight off the virus.

What Happens When the Mother gets Chickenpox at the time of Birth?

If the mother is unlucky enough to catch the chickenpox virus at the time of birth, her immune system wouldn't have had enough time to gather antibiotic forces. It is likely that some antibodies will transmit through the placenta to the unborn child during birth, but the infant will have a low fighting chance against the virus, causing fatal results.

To help boost the baby's immune system, they must receive zoster immune globulin, antibiotic-rich blood, taken from adults who recovered from shingles or chickenpox recently.

Shingles in Young Children Born with Chickenpox

When an infant enters into the world with the chickenpox virus, they are likely to obtain the shingles illness within the first five years of his or her life. This occurs because the virus must also be fought by immune cells.

Other Risks of Chickenpox during Pregnancy

Depending on the stage of pregnancy that a woman gets chickenpox, there can be severe risks deemed on the unborn child. For instance, the infant can be born with congenital malformations. This doesn't happen often. Many experts in this field differ in opinions on how great the risk actually is.

Why Else are Woman at Special Risk from Shingles?

Although men and women are equally prone to getting shingles, women should be more aware of the condition because majority of the cases are people that are 80 years or older.

And since woman makeup 60% of the population of people 85 and older, it is with great reason.

Shingles has a greater impact on elderly woman, so doing and knowing all you can beforehand is highly recommended.

Prevent Maternal Chickenpox

It is important that you do all that is necessary to avoid catching the chickenpox virus while you are pregnant. Throughout your term, you should stay away from people who have had chickenpox or shingles, especially if you have never had the chickenpox virus.

If you notice any symptoms of shingles, such as burning, itching, blisters or rashes, you should visit the doctor immediately. If you go to the doctor within the first 72 hours of the first symptoms, you have better chances.


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